BY LAVONTE YOUNG
Home sports editor
After two stellar seasons at Jefferson Davis Community College, former Sylacauga standout Chris Oden is looking to find a home for the next two seasons. Several teams have been interested in the sharp shooter, but he is taking time to find the right fit for what he wants to accomplish on the hardwood as well in the classroom.
“I am going to make sure the next place I go to is a perfect fit for me,” Oden said. “I don’t want to go to a school just to go there and don’t feel comfortable there. I am going to make sure it is a perfect fit for me. I want to major in athletic training.”
Oden led Sylacauga to the Final Four for the first time since 1998. The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 17 points per game in his senior season, but he struggled at times with his role when he arrived at Jeff Davis.
“My first year at Jeff Davis went good,” Oden said. “It was a fun experience being a freshman transitioning from high school to college and being the starting point guard. Of course, I had some obstacles in my way trying to adjust to the different levels of the game. After while I shook it off and started to shoot better.”
In his freshman season, Oden only averaged eight points per game, but he was amongst the leaders in rebounding and steals per game.
He said his role on the team changed late in the season after he went off for 26 points.
“At the beginning of my freshman season I barely shot the ball in the game,” Oden said. “In one game, I scored my career high of 26 and he (Coach Gardner) told me to start shooting more. This year, he ran more plays for me to shoot. I think in one game I hit nine 3-pointers. This year, I was moved to the two (shooting guard), because I was playing the one (point guard). I had a lot of opportunities to shoot the ball.”
This season, Oden had a huge season as he averaged 16.4 points per game. He recorded eight games where he scored 20 or more points. Oden shot 40 percent from the field, 38 from behind the arc and 78 percent from the free throw line.
“He had a fantastic season,” Gardner said. “He ended up second team all-division. He averaged 16 points, four assist and three rebounds. “ Everything you want from a player on the floor and even better as a player off of the floor. He is a fantastic kid and I am really sad to see him move on.”
Oden said playing with high school teammates: Darren Wilson, JaQuan Threatt made things easier for him on the court.
“I like having some of high school teammates down there with me,” Oden said. “We are familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses so it worked out pretty good. We knew where each other would be on the court, so there was not any miss communication.”
Gardener believes where ever Oden signs will be getting not only a great scorer but an even better person.
“He is a leader on and off the floor,” Gardner said. “He is an outstanding scorer, he is able to hit shots with a lot of range and he is a hard worker. He is everything you want in a player. I hope he is going to find an opportunity somewhere.”